Review: Xtravo Web Browser has clean look, many quirks

XTravo is an alternative browser that needs more unique features to make it worth switching from the tried-and-true.

By Ian Harac, PC World |  Software, web browsers

Xtravo Web Browser (free), a browser by Jawoco that has gone through numerous iterations, retains a focus on a clean, minimalist interface and numerous idiosyncrasies in version 6.

Here's the rub: Because of the robustness of the leading browsers, and the number of ways they can be extended or customized, an alternative browser has to offer more than just a functional feature set. Xtravo includes a few interesting extras, but none of them is likely to sway someone from their current favorite.

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Xtravo's newest feature is a beta version of what they're calling the "Acid Bar." This is a hybrid address bar/search bar that attempts to take you to an appropriate page based on what you type in.

For example, typing in "Transformers" took me to the Hasbro Transformers website, which works for me, but how did it decide I wasn't looking for electrical power supplies? Entering "Arab Riots" didn't take me to CNN or Google News, but to an article on uprisings in the 1920s, of all things. Well, the feature is a beta. Typing in a full URL will take you to the requested page, of course. The Acid Bar can be turned on and off in the options.

Xtravo Web Browser provides a minimalist browsing interface.

Among the useful features in Xtravo is a built-in image harvester, which downloads all graphics on a page. It's a feature I'm surprised other browsers tend to leave to add-ons. Xtravo is also very well-behaved when it comes to memory usage, retaining a small footprint over time.

General browsing is fast, and Xtravo uses the CSS-friendly Trident 6.0 engine, also used in the latest versions of Internet Explorer, for rendering.

There are a few rendering glitches, however. Sites that rely on remote image links, in particular, had issues.

In addition, there were responsiveness issues; button presses sometimes registered and sometimes did not, for example. I was unable to open some links merely by clicking on them, but could right-click on them and choose "Open In New Window," which actually opens them in a new tab, while the "Open in New Tab" option is permanently disabled.

The back arrow sometimes simply doesn't work. The Xtravo window frame can only be resized at the corner (like an old Mac OS window), not by grabbing the edges. This is a  minor thing, but it highlights the number of oddities I encountered.

There's a need for new browsers to challenge the established order and keep the state of the art advancing. But the current Xtravo Web Browser release doesn't add much new, and introduces bugs I didn't experience with older versions.

 

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Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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